Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Answers to the commonly asked questions
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a condition that interferes with the use of the hand and is caused by too much pressure on the nerve that runs through you wrist. Symptoms include pain, tingling and in sever cases Permanent nerve damage. If diagnosed early, CTS is very treatable.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many things can cause CTS, and more often it is a combination of factors that causes the condition. Some of the causes include:
Wear In Tear- The sheath around your tendons can become thick and sticky from normal aging or from repetitive hand movements, causing the nerve to become compressed.
Bone Dislocation and Fracture- A break of any of the bones in the hand or wrist can press into the tunnel causing the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is the Carpal Tunnel?
The carpal Tunnel is the center of the wrist where bones and ligaments form a narrow tunnel containing tendons and a major nerve. Here is a diagram you can refer to for more information.
Why is Early Diagnosis Important?
Early diagnosis can decrease the possibility of permanent nerve damage, discomfort and disability
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
Treatment begins with a splint to rest your hand and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed for a period of time to help decrease swelling and inflammation. Its important to understand that while drugs may help to alleviate some of the pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, prolonged exposure to these types of drugs can do severe damage to your kidney. Ultimately the behavior that causes the condition must be modified. A therapist may prescribe exercises to increase your range of motion and will also recommend that you have your workplace and home evaluated to see if any modifications to you workstation can be made to make the environment more ergonomically friendly.
As a final resort, surgery may be recommended as a way to relieve pressure on the nerve. Unfortunately the surgery is permanent and is not without risk, once cut scar tissue will grow into the already narrowed canal and in several years you might be left back right where you started.